Round 23 – Sevilla’s comeback
By David, bettingexpert.com | Edited
Runaway Liga leaders Real Madrid may have sealed it last weekend after they defeated Levante at the Bernabeu, taking advantage of Barcelona’s really bad defeat against Osasuna. Guardiola paid the price for having placed too much trust on the cantera products preferring to rest his top players ahead of the Leverkusen trip. They should not be giving up that easily though. And so should Sevilla be doing as they head into a must win home match against last weekend’s Barca conquerors Osasuna.
Sevilla – Osasuna
Until last weekend the form of both teams would have been defined as disappointing. This now holds true only for Sevilla since Osasuna became only the second team in la Liga to defeat Barcelona. A 3-2 thriller which however had them run out as deserved winners. That helped them pick up home form and a lot of morale as they will look to get back in contention for the European places.
Sevilla would most probably be content with survival this term after a tumultuous season which has seen manager Marcelino Toral get the boot two weeks ago. The change did very little to help though as they lost the sixth game from the last eight, making theirs the worst form in the league over the recent span of matches.
The levels of frustration are high at the Sanchez Pizjuan with team mates Spahic and Medel having been involved in a training squabble last week. Both should be involved this weekend though. Javi Varas, Perotti and Reyes are doubts but they may be able to recover in time. It is a delicate moment for the squad but they do look like making an effort to concentrate on improving matters.
Despite the many defeats Sevilla had for some stretches of those games played well. They just need to keep the tempo high all throughout and an unreliable away side like Osasuna can help them boost their point tally.
Levante – Rayo Vallecano
Two dubious goals allowed Rayo Vallecano to have the better of Getafe in a Madrid derby of minor importance. That was their fourth victory in the last six games, two of which away from home. They will be playing Valencia-based Levante this weekend.
The hosts have won the first meeting between the sides this season and they sure do need to repeat that now. After earning the title of Liga surprise for the season they soon threw that away with a horrible second part. They last won on the 10th of December. From four home games since they registered three draws and one defeat. The last game at the Bernabeu should have given them a boost of confidence though. At one point they were also winning.
Juan Ignacio Martinez should be recovering a number of players and will be able to field a strong eleven this weekend against Rayo. For the guests Michel may be ruled out for the match whilst Arribas is suspended.
Verdict: Levante -0.25
A shame for Levante to be giving up on their fight for Europe so early. They need to wake up and Rayo should be an opponent they can beat.
Barcelona – Valencia
All Spanish sides involved in European fixtures this week were asked to perform on away turf and all of them won, including Barcelona and Valencia. The latter won at the Britannia Stadium through a Mehmet Topal goal. Guardiola’s men found it relatively easy in Germany against a Leverkusen side intent on defending, especially in the first half.
The Champions League issue seems archived now with the second leg scheduled at the Nou Camp in a few days’ time. The league does seem that way too but they should not be giving up yet. They still have an ace up their sleeve with the home fixture against Real Madrid.
Los Che are not an easy opponent but this season they seem to have dropped the pace a little. Still that has not been enough to endanger their third place in the standings but a number of injuries and some early friction with Emery has left them a little vulnerable.
Verdict: Barcelona -1
Barcelona should be welcoming back some key players and this season’s Valencia does not look like being tough enough for the Nou Camp.
Zaragoza – Betis
Great stuff from Zaragoza last weekend. They defeated in-form Espanyol at the Cornella-el Prat. Espanyol attacked of course but Zaragoza held on to the virtue of patience and it paid off. Betis too recorded a very good result, needing a goal in the final minutes to overcome Europa League-bound Athletic Bilbao.
On away turf they have been a no-compromise team Betis. No draw yet. And they will surely not be looking for just one point when they visit Real Zaragoza. The once-great historical Spanish side looks se for the Segunda Division after encountering financial trouble. Betis will want to attack them and impose their game early on.
Zaragoza are not considering themselves dead yet. It does seem too late when you have a look at the standings. They are ten points from safety right now. It is therefore a must-win, just like most of the games left for them. They have shown they still have the necessary determination though. At the end of January they put up a good display at the Bernabeu. The defeat the week after against Rayo shows how inconsistent they can be however.
Betis may be underestimating Zaragoza and this should help the home side find the spaces and goals they require.
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